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Data Analysis Interpretation

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Introduction

Based on the literature review in chapter 2 and the primary and secondary data collected as outlined in chapter 3 , the researcher has detailed his analysis and his interpretation of his understanding based on in-depth and clear research keeping the aim and objective of the research in mind. This chapter emphasizes the main issues in connection with the study's aims , previously outlined . The chapter has been accordingly broken down into main sections

  • To study the set of processes used in a world-class organization (Infosys) to effectively and efficiently manage software projects
  • To study the involvement of senior managements and the role of managers in delivering software products
  • To suggest possible future courses of action through which Infosys can maintain an edge over the competition

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Using the primary and secondary data identified in the literature research , the researcher now explains the main areas in order to answer the objectives of the study

AIM : To study the set of processes used in a world-class organization to effectively and efficiently manage software projects .

The literature review pointed that in terms of Infosys project management, software project work is split into two components: onsite and offshore, according to where it can be best done, at the lowest cost, and with the lowest level of acceptable risk, thereby de-coupling capability development and delivery. Infosys has established a systematic pattern of succession planning whereby board members remain in the vanguard but are underpinned by a three-tier leadership structure for high-potential managers . Infosys executes hundreds of projects each year. Full responsibility for executing a project rests with the project manager, who must make sure that the project team delivers high-quality software to the customer on time and within cost . At Infosys , in the project planning stage, as revealed by Marsh (1998 p.29) , the project manager reviews contractual commitments and creates a plan to meet them. Creating a project plan involves defining a life-cycle process to be followed, estimating the effort and schedule, preparing a detailed schedule of tasks, and so on. It also includes planning for quality and configuration management as well as risk management. At Infosys , the second phase, as in the words of Finney ( 1999 p.43) , project execution, involves executing the project plan, tracking the status of the project, and making corrections whenever project performance strays from the path laid down in the project plan. In other words, it involves tracking and controlling the implementation of the project process. This phase is the longest in the project management process, incorporating periodic tasks such as monitoring project status and quality and taking any needed corrective steps.

Objective 1 : To analyze the project management process adapted by Infosys in delivering effective software systems

Infosys project manager performs startup and administrative tasks and creates the project plan and schedule. He is also responsible for defining the objectives of the project . The suitable standard process for the project execution is identified . Also the standard process to meet project requirements are tailored . Also a process for managing changes in requirements is designed . The estimation of effort involved is undertaken . Also the plan for human resources and team organization is determined . The project milestones are defined and schedules created accordingly. Also the quality of objectives and a quality plan to achieve them are determined . A defect prevention plan in designed. The risks are identified and plans are made to mitigate them. A measurement plan for the project is defined .A training plan for the project is designed . The project-tracking procedures are analyzed for effective execution . Also a review of the project plan and schedule are performed . Authorization from senior management is obtained . The configuration management plan and defined and reviewed . Also orientation of the project team to the project management plan is executed

Once planned the project manager executes the project as per the project plan. , tracks the project status., reviews the project status with senior management. , monitor compliance with the defined project process. , analyze defects and perform defect prevention activities, monitor performance at the program level and conduct milestone reviews and replan if necessary. Other members of the team also participate in this stage. The entry criterion is that the project plan is complete and approved, and the exit criterion is that all work products delivered are accepted by the customer

Post-project data analysis constitutes the main activity; metrics are analyzed, process assets (materials, such as templates and guidelines, used to aid in managing the process itself) are collected for future use, and lessons are recorded. Because learning from the project is the main goal, this is a group activity that involves the project manager, the SEPG, and other members of the team

Infosys software project has two main activity dimensions: engineering and project management. Infosys engineering dimension deals with building the system and focuses on issues such as how to design, test, code, and so on. Infosys project management dimension deals with properly planning and controlling the engineering activities to meet project goals for cost, schedule, and quality.

If a software project is small (say, a team of one or two working for a few weeks), it can be executed by infosys somewhat informally. The project plan may be an e-mail specifying the delivery date and perhaps a few intermediate milestones. Requirements might be communicated by infosys in a note or even verbally, and intermediate work products, such as design documents, might be scribbles on personal note pads.

These informal techniques, however, do not scale up for larger projects of Infosys in which many people may work for many months—the situation for most commercial software projects. In such projects, each engineering task must be done carefully by Infosys following well-tried methodologies, and the work products are been properly documented so that others can review them. The tasks in the project are been carefully planned by infosys and allocated to project personnel and then tracked as the project executes. In other words, to successfully execute larger projects, formality and rigor along these two dimensions must increase in infosys

Formality requires that well-defined processes be used for performing the various tasks so that the outcome becomes more dependent on the capability of the processes. Formality is further enhanced by quantitative approaches that are employed by infosys in the processes through the use of suitable metrics.

A process by infosys for a task comprises a sequence of steps that should be followed to execute the task. For Infosys, however, the processes it recommends for use by its engineers and project managers are much more than a sequence of steps; they encapsulate what the engineers and project managers have learned about successfully executing projects. Through the processes, the benefits of experience are conferred to everyone, including newcomers in the organization. These processes help managers and engineers emulate past successes and avoid the pitfalls that lead to failures.

For a project, Infosys engineering processes generally specify how to perform engineering activities such as requirement specification, design, testing, and so on. The project management processes, on the other hand, specify how to set milestones, organize personnel, manage risks, monitor progress, and so on.

Project managers at Infosys actually want to use processes but only if they're reasonable and will help the project managers execute their projects better. Project managers do, however, resent processes that seem to be unnecessarily bureaucratic and add little value to their work. The trick, then, is to have lightweight processes—those that help project managers plan and control their projects better and that give them the flexibility to handle various situations.

Objective 2 : To analyze the CMM framework applied by Infosys in delivering effective software projects

To consistently improve process performance on its projects, Infosys enhance the process capability frequently that the process itself must become more mature.

In level 1, the initial level, Infosys executes its project in a manner that the team and project manager see its fit. At the repeatable level (level 2) infosys applies established project management practices are employ them , although organization-wide processes may not exist. At the defined level (level 3), organization-wide processes have been defined and are regularly followed by Infosys project team. At the managed level (level 4), quantitative understanding of the process capability makes it possible to quantitatively predict and control the process performance on a project by the Infosys project team. At the optimizing level (level 5), the process capability is improved in a controlled manner and the improvement is evaluated quantitatively.

Each maturity level is characterized by key process areas (KPAs), which specify the areas on which the organization should focus to elevate its processes to that maturity level. For Infosys to achieve a maturity level, it must satisfy all the KPAs at that maturity level as well as the KPAs at all lower maturity levels. Maintaining processes at higher levels of maturity is a challenging task requiring commitment from infosys and its proper work culture.

Objective 3 : To study the KPA's for Infosys project management performance

KPA's at Level 2 :

Requirement Management - RM : Here the software requirements of Infosys are controlled to establish a baseline for its software engineering and management activities. Also software plans, products, and activities are kept consistent with requirements

Software Project Planning - SPP : Here Infosys estimation are documented for use in planning and tracking the project .Project activities and commitments are planned and documented. by Infosys .Also affected groups and individuals agree to their commitments related to the project

Software Project Tracking and Oversight - SPTO : Here the actual results and performances of infosys are tracked against their software plans. Corrective actions are taken by management and they manage to closure when actual results and performance deviate significantly from their software plans.

Software Subcontract Management (SSM ) : Infosys's prime contractor and the subcontractor agree to their commitments. The prime contractor tracks the subcontractor's actual results against its commitments. The prime contractor and the subcontractor maintain ongoing communication. Similarly the prime contractor tracks the subcontractor's actual performance against its commitments

Software Quality Assurance - SQA : Here Infosys plans its software quality assurance activities . Also adherence of software products and activities to the applicable standards, procedures, and requirements is verified objectively. Similarly affected groups and individuals are informed of software quality assurance activities and results. Noncompliance issues that cannot be resolved within the project are addressed by senior management of Infosys

Software Configuration Management - SCM : Infosys plans its software configuration management activities Also selection of software work products are identified, controlled, and available. Similarly changes to identified software work products are controlled. Affected groups and individuals are informed of the status and content of software baselines

KPA's at Level 3

Integrated Software Management - ISM : Here Infosys project's defined software process is a tailored version of the organization's standard software process. The project is planned and managed according to the project's defined software process

Intergroup Coordination - IC : Infosys affected groups agree to the customer's requirements. And all groups agree to the commitments between different groups.The groups identify, track, and resolve intergroup issues.

Peer Reviews - PR : Infosys plans its peer review activities and any defects in the software work products are identified and removed

KPA's at Level 4 :

Quantitative Process Management - QPM : Infosys plans its quantitative process management activities and its process performance of the project's defined software process is controlled quantitatively. The process capability of Infosys standard software process is known in quantitative terms.

Software Quality Management - SQM : Infosys project's software quality management activities are planned. Any measurable goals for software product quality and their priorities are defined. The actual progress toward achieving the quality goals for the software products is quantified and managed

Objective 4 : To analyze the SEPG support Infosys applies to its projects

The quality department at Infosys contains the software engineering process group (SEPG). The SEPG is responsible for coordinating all the process activities, including process definition, process improvement, and process deployment. It also manages all information and data related to the use of processes Although the responsibility for all aspects of delivery, including quality, belongs to the project team, the SEPG facilitates the project team in following the right processes. The SEPG also forms an independent channel for monitoring and reporting to senior management on process and quality issues. Because "processes won't stick by themselves,"6 the SEPG helps to ensure that the defined processes are implemented and become standard practice.

To this end, in addition to offering training on processes, the SEPG provides a member who is associated with a project as a software quality adviser. The quality adviser assists in defining and following processes, ensures that the processes are followed, aids in analyzing the data, and provides any needed process training. Because the adviser is well versed on processes, guidelines, and so on, the adviser's main help comes during project planning. The adviser also reviews the project plan to ensure that it contains all the key elements.

In addition to providing consulting and help with processes and metrics, the Infosys SEPG schedules and manages regular independent audits to ensure that the defined processes and standards are being followed.

Objective 5 : To study the involvement of senior managements and the role of managers in delivering software products ( PRISM and IPM )

Infosys prides itself in providing value to its customers through delivery excellence. Everything at Infosys, including its organizational structure, is driven by the aim of serving customers efficiently and effectively and quickly tapping new business opportunities.

For delivery of customer services, Infosys has many business units. Within a business unit, a team, headed by a project manager, executes a project. The project manager is responsible for all aspects of project execution, from determining the requirements to final installation of the software. The project manager reports to a business manager, who in turn generally reports to the business unit head.

To handle situations that cannot be resolved by the project manager, senior management involvement in projects is essential. At Infosys, the business manager regularly interacts with the project manager and monitors the project through status reports and milestone reports . In addition to regular monitoring, the business manager also helps to resolve issues and problems that cannot be handled by the project team and are escalated to his level . The business manager also interacts with customers to ensure that they are satisfied and that any issues are promptly raised and addressed.

In addition, other senior people also review projects periodically by regularly taking part in internal audits Through two systems—called PRISM (project review by senior management) and IPM (integrated project management)—milestone reports and project plans are available for senior management to review. All senior managers are expected to review some projects periodically through this system and to give feedback to the project leaders.

Overall, senior management maintains involvement in the project primarily by monitoring to ensure that the project objectives are met and that the customer is fully satisfied.

Because project managers have the main responsibility for satisfying the customer, they need to master not only executing the technical aspects of a project but also interacting with customers, eliciting requirements, managing the team, and so on. Clearly no one is likely to possess all the skills needed, so it's crucial to train people to develop the necessary skills. Infosys has implemented a variety of programs to help people transition from being engineers to being project leaders.

All fresh entrants undergo a three- to four-month induction training program. In addition to training in engineering and technology, this program contains one- or two-day programs in business etiquette, written communication, public speaking, body language, and so on.

Later, when engineers are ready to become module leaders (those who manage the development of a system module, especially in larger projects) or project managers, they attend a series of technical and soft-skills training programs. Included in the former is a five-day project management course that focuses on all aspects of project management: planning, monitoring, controlling, and so on. A two-week course on requirements specification and management teaches how to elicit requirements, how to document them, how to verify them, and so on. The five-day residential soft-skills training program includes modules on appraisals and team management, customer focus and customer management, leadership, social and business etiquette for different countries, and so on.

Other regularly offered programs focus on various aspects of management; project leaders take these courses when their schedules permit. Also, team-building workshops are conducted by professionals.

Objective 6 : To suggest possible future courses of action through which Infosys can maintain an edge over the competition

For Infosys to continue its success stories in developing world class software projects , it has to concentrate on the following issues IN DEPTH

  • The software project's process plan focusing on customer requirements
  • Analyze the impact of software requirement change request
  • Extended efforts in estimates and the high-level schedule, along with a description of how they were obtained
  • More focus on the quality plan containing quality goals and plans for achieving them, including plans for defect prevention and reviews
  • Extended support on the risk management plan describing the major risks, their risk exposure and impact, their prioritization, and the risk mitigation plans for the high-priority risks
  • Effective measurement and tracking plan
  • Detailed and clear project management plan, including the team management plan and the customer communication and escalation plan
  • The complete configuration management plan
  • Efficient project tracking documents, including the defect log, the issues log, the status report, and the milestone report
  • Details of defect prevention, including defect analysis results and the impact on the project of the defect prevention plan
  • Clearly illustrated complete closure report, which includes the metrics data on quality, productivity, cost of quality, defect removal efficiency, and so on

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